More than 100 people across Nottinghamshire have pledged regular donations to help secure free care at a hospice in Mapperley.
Donors responded to a joint appeal launched by Nottinghamshire Hospice in Mapperley and Beaumond House Community Hospice in Newark calling for ongoing support in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The appeal asked people to pledge a small regular amount to safeguard hospice care from any future impact of the virus.
Ian Robinson of Daybrook signed up as a regular giver to Nottinghamshire Hospice after spending seven weeks in hospital with Covid-19. His experience brought home to him the importance of end-of-life care.
Ian, 72, was fit and healthy and would walk for miles before he caught Coronavirus at the end of May. After he collapsed on the bedroom floor his daughter called an ambulance which took him to the city hospital where he spent 22 days in ICU and came close to death on three occasions.
“I was on an oxygen mask that was keeping me alive,” he said. “I can’t remember a lot of it, but I do remember a nurse sitting with me, holding my hand and talking to me for several hours. She was marvellous. One night I just wanted to slip away. But I live to fight another day.”
Ian knew about the care provided by Nottinghamshire Hospice as his wife Gaynor had been a retail manager at the hospice and the family had supported fundraising events.
“I was so distraught I asked my wife and daughter if they’d get in touch with the hospice, I thought if I’m going to pass away I’d rather be at home,” Ian added.
Ian is not out of the woods yet. Four months on he still feels very breathless. His illness caused pneumonia and pulmonary embolism and is likely to be on medication for the rest of his life.
However, knowing how close he came to losing his life has made him determined to make a difference to those at the end of their lives.
“When you get as poorly as I have it alters your whole perspective on life. You lie there and think once this is over – if it is over – I can concentrate on charities.
“Nottinghamshire Hospice is one of the best charities. I know if I needed end of life care or bereavement support they would end up supporting me – it’s a marvellous organisation which is valuable to many many people. The more that people donate, the longer it will continue its existence.”
Rowena Naylor-Morrell, Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire Hospice, said: “Nobody knows how long the pandemic will continue or what the new normal will look like. We are really grateful to donors like Ian who have made a regular commitment to the hospice, helping us to safeguard our services should there be future peaks and lockdowns.”
Both hospices took a big financial hit due to event cancellations and shop closures during lockdown. With help from their supporters, both have survived, and even extended their services to help more patients and families, adapting quickly to cope with increased demand and new challenges.
Nottinghamshire Hospice set up a new Hospice Outreach and Discharge Service (HODS) and now offers round the clock care to patients at the end of life in their own homes plus support for their families and carers.
“Hospice care is more important than ever as it means patients can spend their last days and hours at home with family around them, keeping hospital beds free,” Rowena added.